So into Day 5 on #AT40 and it was getting pretty obvious that not only were riding expectations being exceeded, but we were both disgustingly smitten with these banger Girona/Banyoles back roads. So much so that we had basically been making pigs of ourselves, an appropriate analogy given thats the prevailing odour around these parts on account of the local farmers having a penchant for piggy shit to fertilise their fields.
So, given the volume, heat and general fever had been peaking out higher than expected and we had a mega second half to cum, day 5 was about chillin, recharging and getting yo Rapha PRO hoe porn star action cranking.
But you can’t just throw a Rapha jersey on and hope to meet the stringent requirements to make it a proper ‘Rapha ride’, come on man… Given we didn’t have Dogma’s we were already seriously fucked, so using the Gram, reading a book of obscure poetry and downloading some branding guidelines from the Rapha London HQ (we read the sale e-mail), we were ready to get our middle age on. Given we were going next level artisanal on it, we needed to start with a serious mouth in a palatial location…
After taking some shots on funny angles of us looking sad wearing large sunglasses and scarves that were pretending to be handkerchiefs, it was time to get this Rapha recovery ride on the road… Well, sort of.
Next on the Rapha PRO hoe day we need to secure some slow mo riding on exceedingly fine gravel roads that had a consistency that was exactly midway between talcum powder and the surface of the Strada Bianche… I then fucked it all up by not taking this photo in black & white. Rookie.
That was disappointing yes, especially when I got the shadow just right. It made me feel as sad as the fact that I wasn’t wearing the lightweight climbers shoes… Or that I wasn’t a lightweight climber.
However, I totally nailed the mandatory shot of “A deserted back road with a three tiered contrast between the vastness of the sky, the deep hues of the local fauna and then ideally arid or sun bathed landscape that all combine to make the rider seem insignificant, whilst keeping the Rapha arm band exceedingly prominent and starkly illuminating.“, not long after that as we spun along at 20kph. I even managed this while trying not to vomit into my mouth as AT’s Tinelli shorts and underseat
haemorrhoid pack which were busy giving my Rapha vibe a facial:
God damn it… Rapha PRO hoe day wasn’t as easy and relaxing as I thought it was going to be… We were only half way in and I still had a number of critical images and posing situations that I still hadn’t hit. This wasn’t just about unzipping your Classic Jersey and letting the soft soothing breeze of Girona massage you through your PRO team base layer whilst you recited famous cycling quotes, french poetry and wondering who the fuck would actually buy a set of those overpriced head phones?
Back to my Brand brief guidelines and we had to tick off the ubiquitous Urban collection shot before getting to coffee. Ideally this involves riding down a street that doesn’t look like one (check), with a contrast between man’s presence and nature (check), some form of urban vehicle that could be used for motor pacing if you were desperate (check) and with your classic jersey unzipped of course…
I even doubled down on that shit with a semi artistic shot of the Girona riverbank ghetto getting dominated by this classic sign which essentially says “Cars get fucked, bikes only” in Spanish. The starkness of the red against the Girona bluebird day has to be worth at least 10% off a pair of PRO team socks:
Holy fuck, we were on fire on this Rapha rest day… And we hadn’t even made it to our Artisanal coffee HQ yet. In case you were wet/throbbing enough already, we were about to take it next level, far beyond a merino microfibre blended cock warmer and firmly into PRO territory.
Our destination of course was the only place to head in town for the correct PRO experience and quality refuelling… La Fabrica is not only more artisanal than that hipster cunt you hate at work, but the food and coffee are excellent. To cap it off, its owned by Cam Meier and his wife, making it legit as fuck as a place to park up with your carbon froth machine and while away the hours debating tires pressures and rim width.
Given how on Rapha point we looked, it was only natural that the Australian National Road Champion Jack Bobridge couldn’t help but take a few unsubtle “I was just checking my twitter feed” pics of AT to blast up on Snapchat where he safely knew we would be too old to find them.
As I well know, two can play at that stalking game and it seemed that we had hit a rich and deep PRO artery by parking up at La Fabrica. This is pretty much the watering hole you want to come and lie in wait at if PRO stalking is your gig. It didn’t take long before “The flying mullet” appeared, Shane Archbold rocking up for some of the famous La Fab cake…
Dude deserves that motherfucking cake as well, after all the kiwi hardman did break his pelvis on Stage 17 of Le Tour this year and then rode it out of the stage. WTF, not only was it a cunt of a stage, but to hit the deck at 80kph, break your pelvis and then ride the stage out massively brings it home how hardcore these boys are. I would have cried, checked to see if my beard was ok, cried some more and then taken a Gram banger of myself in the ambulance for epic sympathy via anti-social media.
It was all so exciting that I had to default to my safe mode of ignoring the people right in front of me to tell a whole lot of virtual people what was going on…
And motherfucker yes, I ate 96% of that cake too, if its good enough for Shane… Also to be noted I very carefully drank that coffee with what appeared to be a milky cock on the top of it. After 440km’s over the first 4 days on #AT40, I basically wanted to eat everything I could get my hands on, preferably all at the same time.
While this was horrifying to my monk level disciplined road peers, it wasn’t hurting my Asian Rapha modelling career at all… Hey, when you’re target market, you really are target market…
With shit selling out faster than I could, it was time to wrap up this 60km reco spin and seriously change up out location. To the Audi skinny people (Yes, serious Rapha points off that it wasn’t a Jag, but fuck, you have to draw the line somewhere).
Oh yes, Act II was in effect and 6 hours of Vorsprung durch Technik later we popped out of a Fromage baguette in not only our new home for 3 days, but right in the epicentre of hallowed grounds and almost unwittingly, 6km’s up the biggest beast of them all:
Yes, as the coming days would highlight, booking your accommodation up the Tourmalet in the middle of the Haute Pyrenees is either idiotic or extremely confident, it was time to find out which one.